UKRAINE- Danube Shipping Company (DSC) has requested Romania’s Constanta Black Sea port to allow ship-to-ship grain transfers which would almost double its barge (flatboat) export capacity, the company recently announced.

Ukraine, a significant producer and exporter, is expected to have a grain output of up to 56 million metric tons in 2023. 

However, the blockade of its major Black Sea ports since Russia’s invasion in February 2022 has limited shipments.

Ukraine’s Danube River ports, which previously accounted for approximately a quarter of grain exports, have now become the primary route for the country’s harvest. Some of the harvest is transported on barges to Constanta for further shipment.

According to the port authority’s statement to Reuters last month, Ukraine exported 8.1 million metric tons of grain through Constanta in the first seven months of 2023. 

This amount is greater than the total grain exports in 2022, which includes grain transported to port silos by road and rail.

Last week, Romania’s Transport Minister, Sorin Grindeanu, stated that Romania’s goal of doubling the monthly transit capacity for Ukrainian grain through Constanta to four million tons in the coming months is still attainable.

DSC provides that 60% of the grain exports flowing through Constanta are transported by river fleet, and barges deliver over 700,000 tons of agricultural products to the Romanian port each month.

However, the company stated that it currently has approximately 600 barges at Constanta and the waiting times for unloading in the port can sometimes extend up to 60 days.

If Constanta allows the development of transshipment, the rivermen are ready to increase the volumes by another 500,000 tons,” it said.

DSC announced that it has a project to establish three additional anchorages near Constanta. One of these anchorages is intended for Ukraine and DSC is prepared to establish a Ukrainian port operator in Constanta.

Ukrainian seaport authorities announced last month that the country had initiated efforts to explore alternative export options for its grain crop. This involved arranging transshipments near the mouth of the Danube.

It is reported that the government has adopted a resolution to officially expand the boundaries of one of Ukraine’s Danube ports. This expansion will allow for the transfer of cargo between anchored vessels.

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